Platelet-rich plasma does not improve clinical results in patients with rotator cuff disorders but reduces the retear rate. A systematic review and meta-analysis

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2023 May;31(5):1940-1952. doi: 10.1007/s00167-022-07223-9. Epub 2022 Dec 11.


Purpose: To assess whether the use of Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) produces a clinical benefit in patients with rotator cuff disorders, treated either conservatively or surgically.

Methods: A systematic review was performed according to PRISMA guidelines on three databases (PubMed, Cochrane Library, Web of Science) to identify randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on the use of PRP in patients with rotator cuff disorders, treated either conservatively or surgically. A meta-analysis was performed on articles reporting results for Constant, UCLA, VAS, SST scores and retear rate. The RoB 2.0 and the modified Coleman Methodology Score were used to assess methodological quality.

Results: A total of 36 RCTs (20 surgical, 16 conservative) were included, for a total of 2,443 patients. Conservative treatment showed high heterogeneity and no clear consensus in favour of PRP. The meta-analysis of the studies with surgical treatment showed no benefit in using PRP in any of the clinical outcomes, either at the short or medium/long-term follow-up. However, the retear rate was lower with PRP augmentation (p < 0.001). The overall quality of the studies was moderate to high, with the surgical studies presenting a lower risk of bias than the conservative studies.

Conclusion: The use of PRP as augmentation in rotator cuff surgical repair significantly reduces the retear rate. However, no benefits were documented in terms of clinical outcomes. PRP application through injection in patients treated conservatively also failed to present any clear advantage. While there are many studies in the literature with several RCTs of moderate to high quality, the high heterogeneity of products and studies remains a significant limitation to fully understanding PRP potential in this field.

Level of evidence: Level I.

Keywords: PRP; Platelet-rich plasma; Rotator cuff disorders; Tendinopathy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy / methods
  • Humans
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome